Middle Ages Unveiled: 50 Unusual and Fascinating Events – Part 2

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26Coin Clipping

Coin Clipping

In the middle ages, some people used to "clip" coins as coins in the Medieval Europe were based on gold or silver. The purpose of clipping was to remove slivers of this material from the edge of the coin. Do this enough times and you have enough for a new coin. If caught punishment was death.


27. Many people in the Middle Ages attributed toothaches to a mysterious "tooth worm", a small, maggot-like creature that bored holes in their teeth and caused all kinds of dental disorders. Some doctors at the time believed that people's nerves were the worms themselves, and thus removed them.


28. In Medieval times, "quintessence" was referred to as the fifth element, the most powerful element that binds the four other elements of nature-- earth, air, fire, and water. It is considered as the place where the Gods dwelt and pertained to the sky and the heavenly bodies in the Greek language.


29. Physicians in the middle ages would drink their patient's urine to diagnose medical conditions. They were able to accurately diagnose diabetes because the urine tasted sweet.


30. In medieval Germany, married couples could legally settle their disputes by fighting a Marital Duel. To even the field, the man had to fight from inside a hole with one arm tied behind his back. The woman was free to move and was armed with a sack filled with rocks.


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31Tickle Torture

Tickle Torture

There was a form of medieval torture, where the victim’s feet were covered in saltwater and then a goat would start licking them. Sometimes the laughter and stress from the intense tickling resulted in a heart attack or a brain hemorrhage.


32. There was an Order of Temperance in the Middle Ages whose members pledged to drink no more than 7 glasses of wine with each meal.


33. Medieval royal courts had professional farters that were rewarded with houses and land. The most famous was the 12th Century Roland the Farter. Another professional farter named Pujol could shoot water up to 5 feet.


34. In medieval times clothes were stored close to the toilet shaft (Garderobe), as the ammonia fumes would kill any fleas.


35. It was common belief in Medieval Europe that a magnet would lose its strength when in the presence of- among other things - garlic, goats' blood and diamonds. This was disproved by surrounding a lodestone with 75 diamonds, then picking it up with a lump of iron.


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36Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

In medieval times, all fruit and vegetables were cooked as it was believed that raw fruit and vegetables caused disease. One book from 1500 even warns: “Beware of green salads and raw fruits, for they will make your master sick.”


37. Medieval blue dye was made by soaking the leaves of the woad plant in human urine. Urine from men who had been drinking a great deal of alcohol was said to improve the color.


38. In the middle ages, it was an accepted political act for two kings to sleep in the same bed as a symbol of unity between their two countries; much like the modern-day photo-op.


39. In medieval England, pregnancy was considered impossible without orgasm. Therefore, if a woman was raped and didn't conceive, there was no evidence, but if she did conceive, it was assumed she enjoyed it. Either way, the rapist would not be convicted.


40. In the Middle Ages, interrogators used a torture device known as a Nuremberg Plate to spin prisoners around until they confessed.


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41European Dishes

European Dishes

In the Middle Ages, European dishes were much richer with complex flavors and spices. This only changed when those spices became available to the lower class and the upper class decided that said spices and dishes were no longer “fashionable.”


42. ‘Flyting’ was medieval England's version of a rap battle, in which participants would exchange witty and insulting verses.


43. There are historical accounts from the Middle Ages of people falling through their floors and drowning in the cesspools of feces kept below the floorboards.


44. In Medieval England, villagers mutilated the dead to stop them from rising up. They were so afraid of the dead coming back, that they chopped, smashed, and burned their bodies to make sure they stayed in their graves.


45. In the middle ages in Russia, there was a custom of a community gathering together to build an entire church in a single day in order to ward of plagues and epidemics.


46Tongue Stones

Tongue Stones

During the Middle Ages, small triangular-shaped stones — thought to be the tongues of snakes turned to stone by Saint Paul — were highly sought after as cures for poison and plagues. Centuries later, the “tongue stones” were identified as fossilized shark teeth.


47. In the Middle Ages, many aristocrats held Round Table festivals, based on the legend of King Arthur. Participants wore costumes based on famous knights in the story, and played the parts of their characters. For one Round Table in 1446, an entire castle was built to hold the festival in.


48. Women in the middle ages completely removed their eyelashes and eyebrows to give prominence to their foreheads which were their most important feature at that time. The Catholic church even made it a sin and an offense to God to show hair of any kind in public.


49. In the middle ages in Europe, using a fork instead of hands while eating was seen as unchristian and insulting to God.


50. Medieval mapmakers supposedly inscribed the phrase “Here Be Dragons” on maps showing unknown regions of the world. Unfortunately, however, it appears that, apart from an inscription on a single, 16th-century globe, this claim is unfounded.

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